Friday, May 29, 2009

End of semester musings

Well, it's a couple weeks out from the end of the semester (actually a month out by the time I finished this blog posting!), and two long distance graduations completed (Sarasota, FL for Jonathan graduating from Ringling School of Art and Design and Berkeley, CA for Rebekah graduating from Graduate Theological Union/Pacific School of Religion--congratulations, kids!!!!).

I found that the use of Twitter and Diigo by and large were successful. Twitter gave students opportunities to see what each other was doing, helped them keep on task, and gave them opportunity to receive quick responses from me. I think for next semester, I'll need to push more frequent and thoughtful tweets earlier, if that's possible. And to use gadgets, widgets or standalone desktop apps to have Twitter available all the time. Too often students would disappear for days, even weeks, at a time from Twitter with the expression that they forgot about it. But definitely worth using again.

Diigo also seemed beneficial. It is quite clunky with library databases, so I need to work on creating more quickie tutorials on doing so for next semester. Also, I've yet really to see the value of groups in Diigo for classes. I'll have to explore that more fully. But the ability to have bookmarks that include highlighted material and sticky notes (though I didn't see the latter used as much) and accessible on any computer was quite an improvement to what students have been using--from printouts to emailed articles.

So fall semester--I'll be using both, though I'll need to adjust based on the class. WRIT 121 is not as research intensive, though I still think that getting students to search for articles and read before each essay will make Diigo helpful. And I'll have to figure out how to juggle them with Second Life (at least for one class) without overwhelming them.